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Demise depends on point of view

Qcreports AICS Research has rolled out an evolutionary version of the company's QueryCalc HP 3000 product. Founder Wirt Atmar announced the new product, QCReports, in a posting over the HP 3000 newsgroup. You can download and install a version 0.98 copy from the product's Web page,

QCReports runs on any system which supports Marxmeier Software's Eloquence database: HP-UX, Windows or Linux. The software has been 95 percent rebuilt on Windows from the QueryCalc code, Atmar said. In an extensive post to the newsgroup he explained the evolution of the product and how it can help an HP 3000 site migrate to another platform

Although there are an enormous number of PC  manufacturers, there’s really only one system, and I very much believe in Bill Gates' plans for World Domination. Because of that belief, the newest version of  QueryCalc, which we now call QCReports, was translated onto the PC.

However, in that post you'll see another viewpoint from Wirt, who has logged many hours as an advocate for the HP 3000 and IMAGE. The HP 3000 died in 2001, he says, and so QCReports had to take up QueryCalc's mantle for AICS. But Wirt showed curiousity about any interest in a 3000 version of the product, too, a broad-minded view in the wake of an obituary.

The question: Is there any interest (meaning money) in us putting together host code for the HP 3000 and  IMAGE? I estimate that it would only take us a couple of months (in the  Atmarian Calendar) to get it up and running on the HP 3000. We already have all of the database query code written for the HP 3000. It’s only a matter of rewriting it for the new communications protocols.

The death of a system is a serious matter for anyone who's invested so much in it across so many years. But I disagree with the time of death, or even the current prognosis for how long the 3000 can survive.

To make my point about the premature 3000 obituary, I go back to Wirt's point in a subsequent message, when he responded to the mess we see in the Windows world, post-XP.

One of the most unfortunate aspects of this business is the tendency of people to exaggerate, to try to protect whatever nook and cranny they’re comfortable in, rather than look at the situation as the way things are.

“The way things are” is not an empirical, unassailable point of view for the 3000 community. As Alfredo Rego said in his keynote at the recent GHRUG conference, there are many perspectives for the HP 3000 users to use in viewing their world. Wirt builds software from the viewpoint that the 3000 is long dead. IT pros who advise on 3000s like Michael Anderson of J3K Solutions see a Windows world that grows more deadly and blinding with each release. Calling Windows a way for Microsoft to suck more life-blood, he says of Microsoft's product strategy

With every new release of the Bill Gates platform, (from Win 3.x, (95/98/me), 2000, XP, and now Vista) end users and developers experience something similar to a blind man having his furniture rearranged.

Meanwhile, Shawn Gordon and Craig Lalley used their messages to the group to assay alternative solutions and compare the 3000’s successful designs with younger products on the Windows platform.

Is the 3000 dead? Is Windows a life-blood-sucking platform? Does all of this Windows enterprise design remind you of something you bought for your HP 3000 10 years ago? If your answers are yes, no, and yes, you find yourself looking through a migrated perspective. If the answers are yes, yes and yes, you might be in the middle of a Windows migration. And if the answers are no, yes, and no, you see homesteading as the way to view the future. Lots of nooks for lots of reasons.

The nook and cranny I am comfortable in is obvious: historic, legacy in the sense of legendary, and realistic about the ultimate demise of everything we hold dear. Prepare for death and the life that follows. You will know when death arrives, so don’t worry on that score. I just believe it’s still too early to write that obituary for the HP 3000, even while creating alternative solutions for the problems which that great platform continues to solve.

But boy, if anyone can move a product from MPE/iX to Windows better than AICS, I’d sure like to see them try. Especially in keeping the 3000 hosting capabilities inside the evolved product, like QCReports does.

On the other hand, QCReports does have potential for the 3000 user who's not migrating, either at this time or at any time. Wirt summed up his original posting,

On one hand you might ask why spend any money on a dead platform, and that’s certainly a reasonable question. But on the other, if you’re intending on staying with MPE for a little while longer, QCReports would be a way to significantly upgrade and modernize your capabilities with the HP 3000. And, if and when you do migrate, if you move to a platform which Eloquence supports, your total migration time for your database and reports will honestly be only a one or two hours. Other than changing the IP address of the new host, you’ll never notice a single difference.